Seven Knesset members have joined Shelly Yachimovich (Labor Party) in declining an automatic salary increase in 2015, calling the pay hike “distasteful” in light of wage stagnation in the Israeli job market.
In a letter sent to the Prof. Haim Levy Monday, who heads the public committee examining MKs salaries, the lawmakers declined the 2 percent pay increase scheduled for January 2015, saying: “Half of the Israelis earn NIS 6,000 ($1,514) a month or less, every third person is making the minimum wage, and wage increases have been at a standstill for the last decade.
“In light of the ongoing struggle for the minimum-wage increase, it’s distasteful to increase the salaries of elected officials when other workers do not enjoy the same benefits,” the MKs wrote.
Yachimovich was joined by Omer Bar-Lev, Moshe Mizrahi, and Stav Shaffir of the Labor Party; Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-on and party member Tamar Zandberg; and Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home party.
On Monday, Ilan Gilon of Meretz sent a letter on behalf of his party to the Knesset House Committee demanding a freeze on salary hikes for all MKs in 2015.
Meretz has also sought to cap earnings of Knesset members at NIS 18,000 shekels ($4,540), double the average wage in Israel. Currently, lawmakers earn 38,887 shekels ($9,810) per month.
Minimum-wage increases, along with tax exemptions, have been a point of contention between the cabinet members in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s soon-to-be-dissolved coalition.